Mehmas caught the eye when he made a winning debut over five furlongs at Chester in early May. The performance came just a few weeks after he fetched 170,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale, and although by a stallion often associated with speed and precocity, the distaff side of his family paints a very different picture.
With what Al Shaqab Racing's Richard Hannon-trained colt has achieved since, it is clear that he is very much his father's son rather than typical of his dam's relations, and it is going to be very interesting to see how his career turns out.
Just nine days after his debut, he turned up at Newbury where he beat Global Applause by three and a quarter lengths over six furlongs. The pair met again 12 days later, in the Listed National Stakes over five furlongs at Sandown, and this time the placings were reversed.
Mehmas returned to the longer trip at Ascot in June, where he chased home Caravaggio in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, and he confirmed his position as one of the best juveniles seen out so far this year when beating Intelligence Cross by half a length in the Group 2 Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
In post-race interviews, Hannon noted the colt's size and said that unless the bay grows by another couple of inches he would be likely to struggle next year. A busy two-year-old campaign is likely, therefore, and the Group 2 Qatar Richmond Stakes at Goodwood is due to be his next port of call.
As a Group 2-winning son of Rathbarry Stud stallion Acclamation (by Royal Applause), it is likely that Mehmas has already done enough to start attracting interest in a potential stud career of his own, and not just because of his speed and precocity. He is by the sire of leading sire Dark Angel, who did not race beyond his juvenile season, and of Equiano, the dual Group 1 King's Stand Stakes star who has made a promising start to his stallion career. Acclamation's sons also include Harbour Watch, an unbeaten colt who did not run after winning the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and whose first juveniles are winning this season.
If Mehmas runs or stars only as a two-year-old then that would make him a somewhat unusual member of his family. The best of several winners out of an unraced mare called Lucina (by Machiavellian), he was bred by Epona Bloodstock Ltd and his dam is a half-sister to 10 winners, four of whom deserve mention.
Lundy's Lane (by Darshaan) was runner-up in the Group 3 Craven Stakes and third in the Group 1 Derby Italiano, Rugged Cross (by Cape Cross) is a pattern-placed stakes winner in Australia, and the prolific Blue Monday (by Darshaan), who won two editions of the Group 3 Arc Trial at Newbury, was third in both the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes and Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes.
The fourth notable sibling is Jakarta (by Machiavellian). A full-sister to Lucina, she won just once, the best of her progeny is the Group 2-placed Puggy (by Mark Of Esteem), and that filly is the one who gave us the French champion Avenir Certain (by Le Havre).
Placed in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet and in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes on her final two starts last year, that Jean-Claude Rouget-trained bay was unbeaten at two and extended her winning run to six when taking the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) and Group 2 Prix de la Nonette in 2014.
Lunda (by Soviet Star), the grandam of Mehmas, was unplaced in three starts, but six of her siblings were winners and five of those were blacktype horses. Indeed, four members of that quintet were considerably more than just that bare description.
Luana (by Shaadi) won three times, earned her bold type when finishing third in the Listed Bentinck Stakes at Newmarket, and the best of her progeny are the Group 3 Jockey Club Cup scorer Tastahil (by Singspiel) and his half-brother Hattan (by Halling). That colt won the Group 3 Chester Vase, the Group 3 Winter Derby and the Group 3 September Stakes, he was only beaten by a nose by Sudan in the Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano, chased home Cherry Mix in the Group 1 Premio Roma, and was placed in a string of other pattern events.
Her half-sister Cloud Castle (by In The Wings) won the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, was only beaten by three-parts of a length by Leggera in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille, and was third to Catchascatchcan in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks. Although neither performance counted for blacktype, it is, nonetheless, worth noting that this Clive Brittain-trained bay finished fourth in both the 1000 Guineas and Oaks.
Cloud Castle went on to produce a string of winners at stud, including the Listed scorers Reverie Solitaire (by Nashwan) and Urban Castle (by Street Cry) and the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes winner Queen's Best (by King's Best).
The three other talented racehorses out of Listed Sweet Solera Stakes winner Lucayan Princess (by High Line) were all well-known colts. Needle Gun (by Sure Blade) won the Group 2 Gallinule Stakes and Group 3 Meld Stakes, he was runner-up in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes, and got some winners as a National Hunt sire, most notably the dual listed-chase scorer Yes Sir.
Luso (by Salse), who won the Group 1 Derby Italiano, Group 1 Deutschlandpreis and two editions of the Group 1 Aral-Pokal, went on to become a good sire of staying chasers with dual Grade A Thyestes Chase winner Preists Leap, Grade 2 winner and Cheltenham Festival scorer Chicago Grey, and the tragically ill-fated Grade A Irish Grand National hero Hear The Echo his standout performers.
Warrsan (by Caerleon) was the most popular member of the family, and arguably the most talented. Saeed Manana's homebred globetrotter was trained by Clive Brittain, he won the Group 1 Coronation Cup as a five-year-old, beat Doyen easily in the same race 12 months later, followed that with victory in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden and, at the age of seven, won a second edition of that 12 furlong prize, this time beating dual Group 1 star Gonbarda by one and a quarter lengths.
He won nine of his 43 starts, was placed in 13, earned over £1.65 million, and he ran in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Dubai, Hong Kong and Japan. He was retired in April 2006, at the age of eight, but before a stud place could be arranged for him he died from what was reported as “complications resulting from a tumour.”
There are also two unraced daughters of Lucayan Princess who have made a contribution to the family's reputation.
Mantesera (by In The Wings), a full-sister to Cloud Castle, is the dam of the Group 3 Winter Derby winner Nideeb (by Exceed And Excel) and of Suegioo (by Manduro), a gelding who was third in the Ebor Handicap and in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup last year year and runner-up in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes in May. He was unplaced behind Pamona in a listed contest over 14 furlongs at York this afternoon.
Maskunah (by Sadler's Wells) is responsible for the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes winner Laaheb (by Cape Cross), for the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes runner-up Ruwaiyan (by Cape Cross) and also for Guarantia (by Selkirk), a stakes-placed seven-furlong winner whose three-year-old daughter Certified (by Raven's Pass) maintained her unbeaten record with a three-length score over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton on Tuesday.
If Mehmas grows and if he has inherited anything of the stamina from the distaff side of his family, then it is possible that he could be potential Guineas colt. But his precocity and demonstrated talent is such that what he may have got from his dam is, instead, some of that speed associated with her sire and broodmare sire – Machiavellian (by Mr Prospector) and Soviet Star (by Nureyev).
If this is the case, and if his trainer's concerns about his potential to grow taller do materialise, then it could be that something like the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes may represent his ultimate peak performance on the track, before what could be a busy career at stud.